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Angelus #3 Review

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Angelus 3I was very excited for the Angelus mini when it was announced at the end of War of the Witchblades, and while it had a solid start I feel Marz really wasted time with the 2nd issue.  But with a classic Darkness vs. Angelus fight promised in this issue my excitement for this mini was rejuvenated. Can bringing in some Dark improve this slow moving mini? Let’s find Out.

 

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Creative Team

Writer: Ron Marz

Art: Stjepan Sejic

 

Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

 

Synopsis: In Hell Sabine’s squad has left the train and the leader of the team contemplates if the conductor will tell on them. Though they say that doesn’t matter and they should just grab the artifact and get out as they enter a dark room. Someone smoking says how that was smart hitching a ride on the train. He walks out of the shadows and we see a priest who says he’s not here for the artifact, that he has his own and says his name is Tom Judge.

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Sabine’s team leader grabs the Wheel of Shadows from it’s holding place. Tom walks off telling them good luck getting home with the Wheel of Shadows. When the leader says she won’t use the Wheel of Shadows to not incur Sabine’s wrath she follows up by saying they should leave before they are found out, just as a group of demons surround them. (oh, the irony!)

 

We transition to Dani and Finch walking past the Mardi Gras parade, Dani telling Finch to be on good behavior as they are going to see her father. When Finch brings up their relationship but Dani says that for now their just friends still and they’ll worry about the other part of their relationship later. They walk into an ice cream parlor as Dai greets her father.

 

Through the conversation Finch hints at their relationship and they get caught up with Dani’s father about how he’s a private detective right now. The conversation ends after a bit with Dani’s father telling Finch to keep an eye on her and not let any strange boys mess her up. (Well now that’s just funny)

 

Dani runs to the bathroom, thinking about how nice it is to have a normal night for once (just saying that and you know you’re setting yourself up) but the lights go out and through the mirror Darklings pull her out into the back alley. She turns into Angelus form, frying the Darklings as Jackie says he wanted them to nicely ask her to step outside.

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Jackie says that they should talk now that she is what she is. Dani mentions how everyone is telling her what to do and what to be. When Dani brings up the she knows Jackie, he mentions that he knew a previous Angelus host and that didn’t stop her from trying to kill him. Dani says things are different now, that she’s in control. Jackie goes all Darkness and says that she’s Sara’s Friend, not His. He wants to make sure she doesn’t come after him.

 

Jackie attacks with a massive monster and they fight over the parade. Onlookers think it’s a delusion from being drunk or a part of the parade. Dani doesn’t know why Jackie’s doing this, his reasoning is that so she doesn’t do this to him and she says that being the Angelus won’t change her. Sabine and other Angelus warriors look on, but Sabine says that Dani doesn’t need their help. Finch spots them and is shocked.

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Dani says how she didn’t want this, Jackie replies that he didn’t want the Darkness either but it happened anyway. (okay he says it with a great line but I don’t want to spoil it) Dani says she’s starting to see Jackie as her enemy. Jackie makes a joke about his feelings being hurt but Dani threatens that Jackie and his little friends are going to get more then their feelings hurt. The large monster pulls Dani into an alley and holds her; Jackie says he doesn’t have any friends, only victims.

 

Commentary

The Good: Angelus #3 was great, the best issue so far of the mini-series. It’s a damn shame it just got this good halfway through. As I said, while the first issue was typical plot set up but done well, issue #2 dragged and did absolutely nothing for the story other then set up the Darkness fight this issue. With all the developments out of the way Angelus is starting to hit it’s stride.

 

Marz as always excels with small character moments and big action. Never does it feel like one trumps the other. This issue had a strong balance of great action and just as great character moments and that isn’t something you get in most comics. Marz really exceeds on every level of making this feel like a balanced read.

 

I loved the scene with Dani’s father, it was just so much fun. Finch trying hard to drop the little hints without just saying “I’ve got the hots for your daughter” was hilarious and I loved Dani’s reaction every time. You could tell she was on the edge of her seat in worry of what Finch would say next and I loved it. You could really feel the awkward tension and comedy that built from it.

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It was nice seeing Finch being a little more pushing about her relationship with Dani. Finch has sort of just agreed to wait for Dani to make up her mind, never pushing and while that’s respectable, I kind of feel bad for Finch since she clearly loves Dani but isn’t getting the feeling reciprocated yet. I hope Marz doesn’t waste this relationship by killing off Finch or just having her leave.

 

Speaking of the relationship, Marz is handling it excellently. This in no way feels like a forced relationship for the sake of having a love interest. I do like how Marz has slowly been building this and building this with each new point, not just saying “their dating, oh now their in love, oh now their getting married” like so many other comic writers handle it.

 

Often the love interests only exist either for drama or to get killed off. But Marz utilizes these important characters to give us real interesting character moments. So while I do hope this relationship comes full circle since it’s one of the more interesting aspects to the mini, I don’t mind that Marz is taking his time to give it real progression.

 

It seems that Dani’s father is going to tie into the larger story with being a detective. My best guess is it has something to do with Jackie in town. But where it leads for now I’m not sure but either way I’m interested to see where it goes.

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I continue to hate Sabine, and for good reasons. Marz has made her the main villain of the mini, plotting to destroy Dani to take the Angelus force for herself. Marz has developed her well by now as the big bad enemy within and I’m really excited to see where she goes near the end of this mini. It seems she’s going to use the Wheel of Shadows for herself and that could be an exciting brawl.

 

I have mixed feelings about the developing sub-plot of Sabine’s team in hell. It was an interesting part of issue #1 and it’s been building gradually but this is the first time it feels important or interesting. Them running into Tom Judge, obvious set up for the Artifacts event by the way, was interesting and it felt like the first really important development as they got the Wheel of Shadows.

 

Sabine refusing to help Dani just shows what a bitch she is. She’s supposed to be loyal to the Angelus force and yet here she is telling the other warriors to avoid saving their mistress. It just shows how heartless and ruthless she is. While she’s a great villain, I really do hope she gets what she deserves by the end of this mini.

 

I love the way Marz writes Jackie. While I’ve heard a lot of good things about what Phil Hester is doing over at The Darkness, I would definitely read it if Marz where writing it. At least co-plotting it or something.  But this is still really great seeing him here. He writes Jackie as just that lovable bastard who’s a total jackass but a brilliant man while at it.

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It was great seeing Darkness vs. Angelus again, this is a classic good vs. evil with the roles reversed characters but now the good really is good so it’s a hero vs. hero fight but done excellently. Jackie’s reasoning is sound since he’s got good reason not to trust anyone with the Angelus force, even if he knows them previously.

 

While I have more to say about Sejic’s art in a minute, damn I love the way he draws the Darkness! I think he’s the best artist to ever draw the Darkness and that’s mostly because he can handle just what monstrous creations it can make. Most artists just draw Darklings and that’s it, but Sejic draws massive dragons, Lovecraftian horrors and all kinds of great stuff for the Darkness. I love it.

 

Marz really kicked ass with the action here. I just loved seeing the Angelus tackle with the giant Lovecratf monster as the parade went on. Also it was just awesome seeing the fight and how it clashed with the fun upbeat feel of the parade and how everyone was freaking out. It was all so awesome and very well handled.

 

Now Sejic just kills on the art, and while this isn’t his best, it’s still great stuff and definitely his art is a big highlight for this mini.

 

The Bad:  There wasn’t much Bad in Angelus #3, but there was enough to take off a couple of points and dock it from being a near perfect read.

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The biggest issue I had was that this issue felt a little too short. That there was  bit more story that Marz didn’t get to put in and that’s because of the developing Sabine Team subplot and that’s a damn shame because while the cliffhanger was great, left me excited for more, I would have like to see just a bit more of the fight and I wish Marz didn’t have to cut it short like he did.

 

I don’t feel the Sabine Team subplot should have taken this long to get where it is. I think we could have avoided and just skipped some of it and just shown them getting there rather then them both hitching a ride and killing the guard of hell. It feels a little too slow moving for my tastes.

 

While I loved the art as always, Sejic hasn’t had that same level of constant detail that he had early on back with Witchblade #116. Now doing 2 books means you can’t always put too much detail in otherwise you’ll be wasting time but I think he could have refined some panels here and there.

 

Overall:  I highly recommend Angelus #3 as your starting point into this mini. Issues #1 and #2 are avoidable at this point and with the recap page you get all the information you need to start here. This is an excellent start for someone wanting to jump onboard and get a great read with great characters and amazing action. Things are really looking up for this mini and I couldn’t be more excited for it.

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